Super Best Audio Friends

The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists

@Philimon Asked if I would be willing to test out his Symphones V9 build, which he got from Wabi Sabi Headphones. Given @purr1n's recent love thread on the RS2e, I was admittedly curious.

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These remind me a lot more of the HP1000 I heard years ago than they do the SR60s I owned even more years ago (many more years). They are brighter and more aggressive than the HP1000. Less dark and warm overall. But they have more of the sense of refinement I remember from those, whereas the SR60s were grating and rough.
Look what the cat dragged in? I knew Drop was working on a turntable collaboration with Audio-Technica, so when this became available, I called Drop to get a sample. I should have kept tabs on it earlier, so I am a bit late to the punch. I know something like this can seem to be too lowly of a table for me; but in all honesty, there is no such thing as a bad turntable. Something like this is light years ahead of what I had when I was a teen in the 80s. At the price point, what I look for is the basics, for everything to work without any oddities. This is something which I feel the Drop Audio-Technica Turntable pulls off. I have yet to listen to it yet (very soon tonight), but from my unpacking, feeling and touching the components, and analysis of the design, my magic ball tells me this will exceed my expectations for $350. (I've dealt with many cheap entry-level tables, and I usually have something to point out, but not so here).

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It's no secret that we as SBAF like/love our ZMFs, both because @zach915m engages within the community and is a cool guy, and because the headphones he makes don't suck. Nowadays, ZMF has a headphone lineup expansive enough that it's worth putting together a compendium to have some general information and measurements in one place.
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A few things are important to note when considering buying a ZMF. All of them have some degree of ZMF-ness; varying degrees of coloration of timbre, richness in harmonics, and cup resonance play (yes, even the open models have this. Look at the CSD measurements on this site). Also, all ZMFs can be tuned to some extent by rolling some pads; that and the differences that wood makes will be discussed later on below. Thus, the notes here will be general notes on the headphone as a whole, not comprehensive on what is possible by rolling pads to taste.
...using HD800S drivers. How it actually sounds like to me: Well... basically kinda like a cross between HD650 and HD600 with slightly better bass extension. It's complimentary to my (still here) HD800S

Pics or it didn't happen:
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Today, we're going all in on the Grado sound. Or at least the Grado's own updated interpretation of the Grado sound with the RS1e. It's important to note that the RS1e has a frequency response which is different from that of the RS2e, SR325e, SR225e, SR125e, SR80e, etc. The RS1e has been out for a while now and appears to have gone through some very early tweaks, which is the reason why I wanted to wait until things stabilized. The RS1e uses a slightly larger driver than the RS2e rom the rest of the line, hence why it's different sounding. In the past, the RS1 or RS1i, non-"e", in the past had always been knocked for it being too similar to the rest except for wider wood cups, but at a much higher cost, $200 over the RS2. Now at least there is a more tangible differentiator. FWIW, the TTVJ Deluxe flat pads do not sound good with the RS1e. The RS1e, appear to have been designed the Grado bowl pads in mind, at least in my opinion.

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I was seduced by the amazing looking Kenrick sound restorations, but that's BIG money, almost as big as BIG D. Sucked in by the wood veneer and blue front, I scored a set of JBL 4307 "Studio Monitor", and after revisiting a thread @GoodEnoughGear posted that an updated 4312G was debuting last year, and that piqued my interest in the 4312, as the 4312SE that was released in limited #'s was difficult to find. I ended up getting a set of the 4312G "Control monitor" on sale from Music Direct with a 60 day return policy, the only caveat was that if I wanted to return them they had to be sent back exactly the way they came... On a pallet, with both speaker boxes inside of a larger box, OMFG that is some serious weight to deal with, but manageable if I didn't like them.
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Before 2010, there was much less choice with headphones. Other than STAX and Ultrasone (the mostly bad sounding audio jewerly of the day) for the high rollers, there was Grado vs. Sennheiser for the plebs. Grado was fast, articulate, crunchy, punchy, but bright, maybe overbearingly so; Sennheiser was smooth, more tonally correct, but inescapably veiled. So veiled in fact, that just a few years ago, the Sennheiser 6** series was rumored to be canceled because of poor sales, that is until the HD650 Love (and mod) Thread and Drop's HD6XX release gave it new life.

Grado is in no danger of disappearing, but it's about time we revisit a classic, learn why it was so special in the first place, and tweak it to get the best out of it. I present the Grado RS2.

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Notable highlights:
I'll be brief. This DAC pushes the boundaries of possibility.
Ultra low distortion
Power supply noise spectrum are at or below -140 dBFS in balanced output

Balanced output Dynamic Range of 140 dB
Balanced output Cross-talk is dual mono with > 150 dB isolation
Balanced output Gain Linearity is nearly perfect to -120 dBFS, less than ± 1 dB to -130 dBFS
Exceptionally low jitter; PLL has high jitter rejection of 80 dB.
NOS square wave is near perfect with fast slew rate and, of course, no filter ringing
Single Ended performance is somewhat less than Balanced output, as is typical
Single Ended performance is still exceptional compared to other DAC SE outputs

Well done Jeff Zhu!
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UNBOXING (HERE)
FIRST IMPRESSIONS (SOUND): https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...nic-studios-oblivion-review.8925/#post-289155
MEASUREMENTS: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...nic-studios-oblivion-review.8925/#post-289290

I ordered the optional speaker taps (this amp doesn't have much power, but it will do 4-ohms - might do well with my speakers). Note the nice spiked feet. This is looking like a better and better deal given how expensive stuff costs up there - assuming the sonics pan out (and I have no reason to suspect that they will not given hints to the amps topology). Hopefully UltraSonic Studios will hold off from drastic price increases a la Feliks if and the brand gets more recognition. There is a large fan underneath the amp which is suspended to the bottom plate with rubber mounts like PC fans. I'm not totally sure if this is necessary, but it was probably put there out of an overabundance of caution.

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Imagine a small box the size of your fist that is a WiFi music organizer/player appliance with every digital output available (including the weird ones) to feed your DAC and is controlled by your smartphone. This is it. The time is now to throw away your PC or laptop (keyboard, mouse, video monitor, USB de-crapifier, etc.). Using computers for music is like using Facebook for social media: it's for old people. Further reasons why: easy to assemble, dirt cheap, and sounds great.

AFTER (for kewl people)
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